If you are not a Project Runway fan, move along. Because this post is not for you. But my similarly PR-obsessed peeps and especially my Facebook friends know how Project Runway has been consuming me. Especially since my friend, Susi, mother of my goddaughter, The World’s Most Beautiful Pre-Schooler, was chosen a few months ago as a PR Super Fan. She was chosen among thousands of video entries, flown to New York, given a make-over at the L’Oreal Make-Up Room and served as a muse and model for one of this season’s designers. But she’s been under a strict non-disclosure agreement and has not breathed a word of what went down on the runway. Until last night when her episode aired. Now it’s all coming out. And I will let her tell it in her blog posts, starting with this one. I have a different objective. More on that in a moment.
First let me back up and do what Project Runway didn’t do last night: tell how this great group of women were chosen as Super Fans. Because Susi says they all had great stories. I think Susi’s was the best. She and our friend Kat have a craft blog where they have been following Project Runway for at least six seasons and doing the challenges. The trick: they’ve been designing in miniature for Barbie dolls. (Check it out here.) Her video highlighted all of that — but didn’t mention that she has mad skillz as a seamstress and knitter. However, it’s clear from the episode that it was Susi’s personality that got her the spot. Sure enough. She is now Facebook friends with all the guys in the L’Oreal Make-Up Room. But full disclosure: Susi is the kind of person who, within a day of landing in New York, would be Friended by everyone in all five boroughs. Including the homeless.
So anyway, before I proceed. Here’s my beef with the episode. It should have been ALL ABOUT THE SUPERFANS! Let’s hear their stories and how we got there. Let’s see them bonding with Tim and Swatch the Mood Fabric Store Dog. Let’s see the gals forming lifelong friendships in the Workroom. Because let’s just look at Project Runway as a business enterprise. Any business knows that their fans, supporters, super loyal customers are key to their business. They influence friends and evangelize the business in a way that no paid advertising could. When you talk about a fan/customer like Susi, she’s blogging to thousands of people weekly about Project Runway season after season. She’s personally turned half of San Francisco onto Project Runway including those that you wouldn’t think would be fashion-obsessed — like my husband. The producers should have known that the fans are paying their salary. The designers this season should have known that, in large part, there is a “this season” because fans like Susi have helped make the show a hit. I think they deserved better than to have the episode hijacked by Ken’s crazy-ass Mommy Dearest facemask and Daisy Dukes melt-down.
And speaking of Crazy Ass Ken — who by now you all know was Susi’s designer — I’m not going to tell Susi’s behind the scenes stories, except for this one. The designers were not matched up with Super Fans in any sort of random fashion. Each was very deliberately paired by the producers. Since what was clearly going to win this challenge were not the dresses but the make-overs, it was no accident, in my opinion, that the Super Fans most likely to have dramatic makeovers were matched with the current “Judges’ Pets”. By that token, I have no doubt that Susi was put with Ken because they knew he was a ticking time bomb. And Susi, despite her upbeat bubbly personality, has the strength of character to not melt down along with his craziness. Not to mention, she is the mom of a four and a half year old. So, if needed, she can take drama and tantrums and put them down for a nap and a Time Out.
Still, as you can see from the episode, Susi was helpful and enthusiastic, supportive and respectful of Ken. She really wanted him to win the challenge. She gave him carte blanche to follow his inspiration and she worked the Hell out of that dress on the runway. Not to mention, she stood up for Ken’s design to the judges. How did he repay her? With snarky behind the scenes comments about how she “picked a horrible color” (Not true. From the first sketch, before they even got to Mood, he specified that particular green!) It got worse last night when he started Tweeting.
At least last night, we all knew that it was all about the Super Fans. In parties on both coasts, we were all Super Fans of the Super Fans. The InterWebs seem to agree. Check out the comments by the Bitter Kittens on the Tom + Lorenzo site. They know Susi was the star of the show. Especially when she asked for vodka before going down the runway!
Of course, Team Susi was gathered in force in San Francisco for the viewing party. It should be noted that Susi’s aesthetic genes were on display as her four-year-old, Amelia May, was representing in several changes of Disney Princess dresses, accessorized with a variety of crowns, cowboy boots and sparkle magic wands. But next to her sartorial splendor, here was the winning costume (many of us showed up as our favorite designers.)
Anyway, for those of you who have never seen Susi in all her SusiNess, here’s her L’Oreal interview in full runway make-up and straight from the hair stylist.